I’ve got the Awfuls. It isn’t a cold, it’s a sore throat and maybe bronchitis. The lady at the clinic said it’s viral so antibiotics won’t help. She’s sure it isn’t pneumonia, which is a very good thing. She prescribed sugar-free popsicles and ice cream. They do help temporarily, and so do ice packs on my chest. But I wake up in the night coughing instead of breathing.
So at 3 AM, well after the eclipse, when I wakened trying to turn my lungs inside out, my first thought was what am I doing wrong to catch this? What did I do wrong to make myself so vulnerable? The question immediately billowed out much larger — Where did I go wrong in my life that bought me to this moment? Eclipses seem present questions like that.
From deep in my still half-dreaming mind, the answer immediately came: nothing! This was so shocking that I froze halfway out of bed and nearly fell over.
Nothing? I thought. How could the answer to such a huge question be — nothing at all? I’d thought I’d need a lot of soul searching and would wind up with a long list of answers — mistakes, misbehaviors, wrong decisions, weaknesses, maybe even wickedness. But how could it possibly be nothing? Nothing at all?
I got back into my bed and tried to think about it, but kept slamming into the same brick wall — nothing. Nothing at all. Period.
Finally my mind stopped spinning in the same tight circle enough to let another thought in. It kinda tiptoed as if afraid to startle me again. “What’s the matter with what and where you are?”
“I’m sick and I feel horrible.”
“So? It happens to everyone.”
“But, if we did everything right — right thoughts, right action, right contemplation, and all the rest — surely our bodies wouldn’t do things like this.”
“Yes, they would. You’re not immortal, you know.”
“Of course I know that!”
“Let’s suppose you’re here to learn things. What teaches you the most — the things that go ‘right’ or the things that go ‘wrong’?”
I don’t much like the obvious answer to that. But I also realize that regarding myself as a failure when something goes wrong may just be getting in my way of learning what O Universe is actually trying to teach me. And, no, I’m not anywhere near ultimately understanding what that is. But I’m again reminded that all of the ‘negative’ things we know we don’t want to do to others, are not helpful when we do them to ourselves. Peace and love travel in circles — it’s better not to stop them anywhere.
“O, and by the way, you could be taking a bit better care of yourself. It probably wouldn’t have stopped you from getting this — it’s quite a nasty virus. Think about what you’d do differently for someone else and try doing it for yourself. “